Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.
On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.
Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.
The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.
While D'had came into the flowershop weekly for a bit after his return to Xanadu he hasn't been in for a while. Perhaps that's the reason he's found in the garden now, but who's to say the reason. For the moment his attention is held by a young girl, about nine or ten perhaps. "Beautiful," he proclaims about the small bouquet she's collected be it from the meadow, the garden, or likely both by the look of the rather simple collection. "Sure your ma'll love it," he assures the girl, leaving her with a pat on the head before she skips off, leaving him to again wander the paths.
Marel's duties surely cannot run to care of the Weyr's garden, but what deal she's had with it since taking on the shop sees her there and in the greenhouse on a regular basis, and today, along one of those paths, she's crouched with her hands in the soil of one of the flowerbeds, pulling small stones from the hole that she's dug in the earth. In the basket that sits beside her, there's more than one plant near overgrowing the pot it's presently in, and, once she's removed the rocks from that hole, she goes about loosening one of the pots that houses the nearest plant's root system.
The things the right, or wrong, turn might bring one to. Footsteps may well give away his presence first if the sound of voices hadn't already, but its along that path that D'had comes across his youngest daughter. "Hey…" he greets, realizing he's not alone perhaps a little too late to backtrack.
So absorbed in her task is she that Marel fails to notice the presence of anyone else until D'had actually addresses her, which makes her stare up at him for a long moment, startled, as if she keeps forgetting that he's to be found at Xanadu now. When she realises that she's staring, she immediately looks away and keeps gently prying plant from pot until she has the former free. "Hello." It's polite, and about all she can manage for the time being, until she gets the plant settled and begins to heap soil around it, the task distracting enough. "Didn't think this was your sort of place."
D'had could have kept walking then, but no, he had to go and open his mouth. Now he really is stuck. "Ain't really," he admits. It certainly wouldn't be the first place anyone would look for him. "Change of scenery I guess," he adds with a shrug for his reasoning. "Looks like you got your hands full though…" the silence that follows that thought could easily enough be filled with either an offer to help, or to leave her be but neither is spoken.
"I won't keep you, then," Marel replies, words spoken to the ground rather than D'had, as she reaches for the watering can settled beside her basket and pours a generous amount of water into the soil where she's re-housed the planet. She lets her words sit for a moment, waiting for footsteps or some other indication of the bluerider's departure. "I don't suppose you have any experience with this sort of thing, anyway," she remarks. "…And I should be in the Archives, but—" She shakes her head and begins to aggressively dig another hole.
Those words sit, but there's no movement from the bluerider. Not right away at least. "Ain't keeping me," D'had replies, truth be told if she asked him to stay he'd be.. well he'd like that, but he's not about to get his hopes up. A shake of his head follows the remark on experience, "No, if if you need a hand.." He'll try? "Archives huh?" an open-ended question for her to finish that thought.
"If you knew why I'd rather be here and shirking my duties than there, you'd just think worse of me than you already do," Marel assumes, abandoning the trowel she's using to employ hands instead. With her left hand, she shoves said trowel in D'had's direction, then points to a spot of earth two or three feet along from where she's digging. "Though I don't think you could really think worse of me than I think of myself, and I'm the one who has to live with me, so."
"Worse?" the confusion of that statement clearly written on D'had's face as he reaches to take the towel that's all but thrown at him. "Baby I don't think nothing bad about you," he offers, moving down to the spot she's indicated and lowering himself to his knees. He can dig a hole, whether it'll be what she needs is another story, but move dirt he can handle. Questions? They're there, but for now he'll tread lightly.
Marel's cheeks colour a little with what must be a guilty conscience, though she doesn't attempt to explain her assumptions to her father. Bitterly, she mutters, "Yes, well, your Baby slept with the Weyrleader and believed everything he told her, which means either she's an easily-led, naive fool, or just not good enough to hold any man's attention, since he's pretended he doesn't know her since he left her bed." There's Nerri's existence, and perhaps that she's been without a father for so long that talking so of herself doesn't embarrass her. "And if I leave his wing, it's defeatist."
D'had pauses, looking from dirt to daughter. "So he was talking about you…" If she'd said the bronzerider's name he likely wouldn't have put the two together, but Weyrleader is a title he does recognize. Maybe he shouldn't have commented aloud, but the realization follows soon enough by, "You're plenty good enough, they just ain't good enough for you." Then again he's her father for all the weight that might hold in their rather non-existent relationship. He's silent for a moment before he finally sets down the trowel and shakes his head, "Only if you let it be."
Marel freezes, tension strung tight across her shoulders as she asks, "…What do you mean, he was talking about me?" too quietly to really want an answer. She goes back to clawing at the dirt, only to flinch and draw her hands back, cradling the right with the left. "M'kal decided he didn't want me," she argues. "Nerri's father— after M'kal, I wouldn't let— And then him." The Weyrleader. "He kept going on to me about all these other girls, and I thought… I can be better for him than them. I'm an idiot." Blood pools in the palm of her right hand, yet still she reaches into the indentation in the earth and pulls out the rock that's done it. "If I give up what I love for him, it's a poor example for Nerri."
"Said he worked too much, and his love life was a mess," or that's D'had's summary of the brief discussion he had with the Weyrleader. "Didn't say who." He's just assuming given that new bit of information from her. "You okay?" he asks at her sudden pull away from the hole she's working on, concern in his voice as he starts to close the distance only to stop. Trying not to invade her space. "Told him should fix love first. The Weyr isn't all on him." Beat. "Can be hard for a man to admit he's wrong." The Weyrleader or himself? "Sometimes we need to be smacked upside the head to realize it. But no," he agrees with a shake of his head, "Don't give up on something cause of someone else."
"It's a mess because he can't be decent to one woman, and he goes and sleeps with another while ignoring her." It's so much easier to say without words like 'I' or 'me', but she can only avoid doing so for so long. "He doesn't love me," Marel insists, low-voiced and entirely without self-pity, save for the barest hint of regret. "It's my fault. I was too forward. I should've maintained distance." She glances down at the jagged cut in her palm and gives a twitch of her lips, dismissive of that as of anything else. "I'll live." In one sense, and the other.
"Feelings, they ain't something that guys talk about easy,"D'had tries to explain. It might not help, but he'll try. "Maybe he's afraid you don't want him," he offers reaching for her hand if she'll give it intending to check out that cut. He does have plenty of first-aid training after all. "Let me see?"
"I didn't ask for feelings. I asked for a straight answer, and he didn't have the decency to give me that." Marel is nothing if not stubborn in her beliefs and what assumptions she's made. She instinctively curls her hand back towards herself, like she'd continue to pretend it's fine, yet, given a moment or more, she slowly surrenders it to her father. It's evident enough that the wound needs cleaning, and from the way in which blood continues to flow and mingle with soil, it must be deeper - and hurt more - than she's letting on.
"Before me and your ma were together. We were.." D'had tries to remember the location before he gives up, "at some waterfall." he goes on with the story, pulling a handkerchief from a pocket (don't worry, its clean) to gently wipe away some of the blood and dirt in attempt to get a better look at the wound. "She was asking what I was thinking about and I told her about 'this girl'. Was talking about her." Maybe some insight to think on? Pressing the cloth to her hand he moves to stand, "Should have a healer look at that." And he's apparently going to make sure that happens.
Fingers curl and there's a tug back as the brownrider unwillingly flinches from the pain, but Marel's expression otherwise continues to betray nothing. "…But you loved Mama," she quietly protests. Whatever else she thinks of D'had, she plainly believes that. What argument she has about her hand is quick to die on her lips, but she refuses to abandon the basket and the unplanted flowers, and reaches with her good hand to throw the trowel back into the basket and catch at its handle. "…All right." She might not be much good as far as conversation goes, but she'll at least go to the infirmary without putting up a fight.
"I still do," D'had admits. "But she loved someone else." The unsaid in those words that he didn't think he had a chance in that once upon a time. He'll leave the conversation lie there as she agrees to see her wound seen too, and if she'll let him, he'll walk her to the infirmary.